EIS and Unison members united on the picket lines at Edinburgh College (Picture: @edincol_eisfela on Twitter)

College lecturers and other workers struck across Scotland over pay on Thursday. Members of the EIS-Fela and Unison unions joined a one-day strike to win an above-inflation rise.

The 2,000 Unison members include librarians, IT specialists, administrators, cleaners, canteen workers and estate management staff at 21 colleges.

College Employers Scotland, the management organisation, has offered workers a £5,000 pay uplift—but covering three academic years. 

The EIS union says, “FE lecturers last received a pay rise in August 2021, and should have received one in August 2022. But they are still waiting for an acceptable offer from college employers a year and a half later.”

EIS-Fela member Angela McCormick told Socialist Worker, “The action across Scotland was solid, with loud and angry pickets nearly everywhere. 

“Workers on a strike rally at the Scottish Parliament heard speakers from the Scottish TUC union federation, NUS Scotland, student groups and MSPs.

“The Scottish government has cut millions from college budgets and it needs to be held accountable. 

“College managements have threatened lecturers with pay deductions of 100 percent if we continue with our boycott of inputting test and exam results. It’s part of our action short of strike that’s running alongside the walkouts..

“This has triggered local disputes against this bullying. At Thursday’s rally the union said it will fight this disgraceful attack. 

“We need a national response of solidarity and protest. We know that the stakes are high but as recent victories at Edinburgh and City of Glasgow colleges show, determined sustained industrial action and political campaigns of solidarity can win.”

Unfortunately the GMB and Unite unions have accepted the pay offer. EIS general secretary Andrea Bradley said on Thursday, “It should be a matter of deep shame to both college employers and the Scottish Government that the country’s college lecturers are still waiting for a fair pay offer. 

“The programme of industrial action, including a rolling schedule of further days of strikes, will continue until EIS-Fela members receive a fair pay offer.”

Fragmented strikes won’t deliver the pay rise that all college workers deserve. But escalating the fight, continuing the work to rule and the boycotts and keeping up the pressure on the Scottish government can win.

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